Almost 1,000 people have signed a petition to rename Glasgow Prestwick Airport to Robert Burns International. The petition, which originated on a Facebook page, urges airport bosses to embrace Burns as the airport’s namesake, rather than Scotland’s second city, Glasgow, which is located more than 32 miles to the northeast.
When Prestwick chief, Steve Fitzpatrick, decided to adopt a new slogan in 2005, local people were eager to see which elements of Ayrshire life he would choose to immortalise on the terminal walls. Mr. Fitzpatrick promised to provide something ‘fun, and a little bit edgy,’ that would attract foreign visitors to local attractions.
Five years later, many Ayrshire residents are still reeling from Mr. Fitzpatrick’s edgy slogan, which not only embraced life in the wrong city, it implied that Prestwick Airport was little more than a concrete zombie. The words ‘Pure Dead Brilliant,’ a Glaswegian colloquialism, ultimately became both a slogan for a Scottish airport, and a lesson in how not to market a business.
Glasgow Prestwick is therefore, one of the most oddly named airports in the UK. The new Facebook petition seeks to fix the hub’s moniker, however, by exorcising all traces of Glasgow from the airport’s name, and by embracing a true local hero in Robert, or ‘Rabbie’, Burns.
‘It’s an embarrassment leaving and entering Prestwick as it is,’ Colin Shearer, a concerned campaigner, explained. ‘Belfast has George Best and Liverpool has John Lennon. Both will be forgotten long before Robert Burns.’
The poet and lyricist was born just four miles to the south of Prestwick, in the town of Alloway, Ayrshire.